Ahead of schedule: Gas storage tanks are almost 85 percent full

Hamburg/Berlin (dpa) – Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck expects wholesale prices to fall in view of the gas storage levels. “We have made better progress in filling the storage tanks than the law requires. Today we are at almost 83 percent,” said the Green politician on Monday.

The value of 85 percent prescribed for the beginning of October was already reached at the beginning of September. As a result, “we will no longer buy at any price. This will calm down the markets and go down.”

In wholesale, hopes of a more relaxed supply situation caused the price of natural gas to fall somewhat. On Monday afternoon, the price of the futures contract TTF for Dutch natural gas was 286 euros per megawatt hour. On Friday, the TTF contract was still trading at around 340 euros.

Klingbeil criticizes “indecent free riding”

Meanwhile, the gas levy debate continues. SPD leader Lars Klingbeil continued to press for corrections. There are undesirable developments, he said in the ARD “Morgenmagazin”. The gas surcharge was justified to avert insolvencies in the energy supply, and that was correct. “But now we see that companies that make billions in profits are applying for this gas surcharge.” That was “indecent free riding,” criticized Klingbeil. You can’t make billions in profits and want to get billions in tax money on top of it.

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr demanded that technical errors should be eliminated before the cabinet meeting in Meseberg, Brandenburg, on Tuesday. “We have to be careful that state intervention does not make the energy crisis worse,” he told the “Bild”. The levy should under no circumstances lead to extra returns for companies. The SPD MP Ralf Stegner told the newspaper: “The retreat in Meseberg is the right place and the right time to renegotiate the gas levy.”

Union faction leader Friedrich Merz criticized the disagreement of the governing coalition on the plans for a gas surcharge. “A terrible war in Europe, rising energy prices and the danger that our economy is going down. A determined federal government is needed right now for clarity in uncertain times,” said Merz of the German Press Agency.

“The traffic light should provide orientation and show responsibility. Unfortunately, none.” Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his cabinet are at odds, hesitant “and apparently have no plan”. Such behavior unsettles the citizens and causes unrest. The Union wants to apply to the Bundestag for the repeal of the Gas Allocation Ordinance with immediate effect.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst called for corrections, but described the stabilization via a levy as “basically not wrong”. After a visit to the gas market regulation company Trading Hub Europe in Ratingen near Düsseldorf, the CDU politician said: “We now have to make sure that everything that is done has the necessary acceptance.” Habeck’s announcement of an improvement is correct.

The economy minister himself said that the gas surcharge will come “because we as a society have to bear the price of having been dependent on Russia for cheap gas for too long”. It is not an extra tax, but anticipates the price increase that would have come anyway.

Habeck wants to correct the gas allocation

Habeck admitted that there are companies that have registered for the gas surcharge but do not need it. “We’ll solve the problem. We’ll push them back off the running board.” It is important that the gas levy system is not destroyed and that legal certainty is maintained. “The alternative would not be no gas surcharge, but no gas .”

The Ministry of Economic Affairs did not provide any information on the timetable for the announced changes. “We are working flat out on a solution,” said a spokeswoman. “I can’t give any more details about the schedule at the moment.”

The surcharge is intended to compensate for the sharp rise in costs for major importers due to the shortage of Russian gas supplies, in order to protect them from bankruptcy and the energy system from collapsing. All gas customers should pay an additional 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour from October. At the same time, VAT on natural gas is to be reduced from 19 to 7 percent. It is criticized that companies that are doing well economically could also benefit from the levy. That is why the federal government is now examining corrections. This is considered legally complicated.

Bundesnetzagentur: Natural gas deliveries from France soon

According to the Federal Network Agency, Germany will soon be able to rely on France for the procurement of natural gas. The agency assumes that natural gas will flow to Germany via France as early as October. They are “in new intensive talks with France,” said the President of the Authority, Klaus Müller, in Ratingen on Monday. France has significant LNG terminal capacities, “just like Belgium and Holland at the site”. He couldn’t say anything about the exact scope yet. “The talks are still going on at the moment.”

Müller spoke of “technical challenges” in connection with the planned deliveries from France. There is a so-called odorization problem. “France adds odorants to its gas at a different level for safety reasons.” Germany only does that at the local level. In many discussions with the industry, attempts were made to assess whether there was a risk. However, the Federal Network Agency considers this risk to be justifiable. “In this respect, France will make a contribution in October so that we can also obtain gas from France.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220828-99-547105/10

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